Feeling stuck? I’ve recently found that tweaking a well-known morning practice can help you get un-stuck in no time. The best part? You don’t even have to get out of bed!
Winston Churchill is supposed to have said that the best way to make something difficult is to postpone it. Whether it was him or someone else, for me it stands as one of the truest things ever said. Still I make the same mistake over and over again – I decide that the best time to do something is TOMORROW. Now unfortunately, the next day I tend to come to the same conclusion, and for every day that passes that e-mail response or phone call or the starting of a new project gets harder and harder, until it has become virtually impossible to touch it.
I’ve been doing a LOT of postponing, lately, in many different areas of my life. In fact I had come to a point where I felt stuck in almost every aspect of life – health-wise, work-wise, and also in my relationships. The to-do-list was constantly growing, while I struggled to even get out of bed in the morning.
The fact that I’m a life coach didn’t really make things better. In theory, of course, I could think of a million things that might help. But unfortunately theory isn’t really the same thing as putting things into practice.
“Why do you always create such a mess?” my meanest inner voice kept complaining. You never finish anything” “Whats the use even to try, you will just fail anyway.”
I guess you could say I was a little bit depressed. I certainly felt paralyzed by overwhelm. Where do you even start when things have turned into such a mess?
Balancing Consuming and Creating
At the same time I was constantly reading new books, each one giving me tons of inspiration. “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed – I want to start hiking!!! “Bird by bird” by Anne Lamott – I want to be a writer!!! 8(!) books about hypnosis – I want to learn hypnosis!!! … But as I finished each book, I never got into action, instead I immediately found another exiting title to order for my Kindle.
I realized I needed to cut down on CONSUMING and get into CREATING-mode, but I just couldn’t find the trigger how to turn things around. The books kept whispering “Read me!!” and I kept telling myself I was going to start DOING again TOMORROW.
So how come I’m actually sitting here writing today?
Several things have helped me get back into action (and yes, they include more books…) but the first step was a realization that almost felt religious, and resulted in a practice that immediately got me back on track:
Ever since I first read “The Artist’s way” by Julia Cameron about 15 years ago, I’ve been a periodical writer of “Morning Pages” . The instructions are that you first thing in the morning write 3 pages by hand, just allowing whatever is on your mind flow out through your writing. Things you worry about, things you need to do, things that makes you angry… Whatever wants to come out, you simply write it down, no censoring, no spelling check. Once your 3 pages are done, you put them away. You DON’T read them, at least not within several weeks.
As I’ve found this practice very helpful in periods, I decided it was time to give it another go. As I had a problem getting out of bed in the morning I decided I was going to write them IN bed, as soon as the alarm went off. My present routine was to lay awake at least half an hour THINKING about the things that worried me, so I figured I might as well write it down.
I manged to keep the practice for 5 (almost) consecutive days, but something was bothering me. The theory is that by writing all your worries and negative thoughts down they will start to bore you until you feel you have to do something about whatever is bothering you.
Maybe I’ve never managed to continue the practice long enough to get to this point, but the fact is, if I happen to look into what I wrote one, five or even fifteen years ago, my morning pages will practically say the same: “I’m feeling stressed out” “I’m sad” “I’m tired” “I’m angry with XX”(insert present boyfriend) . And then some questions: “Why can’t I straighten my life out ? Why am I so afraid of XXX????”
Same same but different
While I’ve certainly found some answers and gotten some great insights through the years, this time I couldn’t help thinking that this writing seemed to serve more like negative affirmations than like problem solving. And so it hit me:
How about, instead of writing about all the things and feelings that I don’t want, I start to write about the things I actually WANT?!
HEUREKA! My new practice was born! And from the VERY MOMENT I started it, I felt happier, more energetic, more loving, more confident, more in control. And before I knew it, I was back into action :).
Somehow, the very action of writing what I wanted to feel made me feel it. And once I felt energetic and confident, getting things done was far more easy than when I was feeling tired and depressed.
Want to try? Easy peasy 🙂 Here’s how:
Keep a note-book and pen beside the bed
As soon as the alarm goes off, pull yourself into a sitting position. Make it cosy with pillows and the duvet. (Yes, it’s OK to pay a quick visit to the bathroom first if needed :))
In your note-book, answer a few of these questions: What do I want to experience today? How do I want to feel when I go about my day? How do I want to behave towards my partner/children/ co-workers? What can I do today to help myself feel more energized? What do I need? What is important to me?
After focusing for a while on what you WANT, ask yourself HOW you can make it happen? Which resources do you already have? Where do you need help? Which step can you take today? Don’t worry about being strategic or trying to make plans, just go with the flow – allow all your inner wisdom to come to assistance 🙂
As you write the answers, FEEL them too, imagine you’re already there.
Keep writing until you filled up 3 A4 pages or 20 minutes have passed.
Get up and have a wonderful day 🙂
Repeat every morning as long as needed.* Use the same or new questions. Keep adding questions that feel relevant to you, but make sure they point in a positive direction, helping to build the best future you could possible imagine 🙂
A note of caution: Go easy on yourself – getting used to being in action takes time. Don’t try to do everything at once! One step at a time, and remember that every step forward is a progress!
For me, it took something like 5 days to get back on track. Then I found something new (AGAIN!) that has kept me going ever since.
Did you find this helpful?
To hear about those other great things I’ve found, that could help you too to gain more energy, focus and will-power, all while sleeping better at night and even loosing weight (if you want to), do sign up for my newsletter!
*) Don’t sweat it – if you find yourself waking up full of inspiration, knowing exactly what you want to do with your day and how to make it happen – don’t tie yourself in bed, just get up and DO IT 🙂